Fighting against the odds

  • Mehlum H
  • Moene K
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Abstract

The fight for power is not only over immediate rents, but also over
advantageous positions in future power struggles. When incumbency
yields an extra fighting edge, current struggles involve high stakes
as a victory today may guarantee the victory also tomorrow. Such
an incumbency edge may stem from the control of the army, the police
and other instruments reserved for the government. The conclusions
drawn from static conflict models are turned on their head when the
fight is also over the incumbency edge. A sharper incumbency edge
increases the implicit prizes of winning. The fighting intensity
may therefore rise when the strength of each side becomes more unequal.
Unbalanced fights can last long and become particularly severe. This
is in contrast to the standard result that equal strengths give the
most intense fighting.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Contests
  • Incumbency
  • Political stability
  • War

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Authors

  • Halvor Mehlum

  • Karl Moene

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